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ON THE DROPS WITH ALEX PATON

What a season this man has had! Following winning his debut race for the team at the 2018 PERFS down in Portsmouth, Rosie had his fair share of troubles and shunts through the mid-season. Everything came up trumps when he finished the year off with a memorable Sprints Jersey win at the Tour of Britain.

We caught up with the Aldershot-based rider to find out how he keeps ticking over during the off-season, what his targets are for 2019, and his views on Christmas binging...

How has post-ToB life been treating you? Have the paparazzi stopped waiting outside your house every morning yet?
It's been very good. Of course, the ToB was a real highlight for myself and also the team as a whole.  After a few weeks have passed its soon old news and not in peoples minds. Since the ToB and end of the race season I have also proposed to my girlfriend, Chloe, so we have had the fun of starting wedding planning too. 2018 has been a tough year but ended on a high.
 
Did you have much of a break at the end of the season, or do you need to keep yourself in a good shape? 
I always have a bit of time off the bike, but not a vast amount compared to some guys. I think after this season I took 10 days off the bike. However both sides of that break, I had a very relaxed approach to cycling, with most rides involving the café!
 
Is your riding super structured at the moment or are you just getting miles in however they come?
Generally fairly structured, im not a huge fan of getting the old school “winter miles” done.  Sure, I get some longer rides done, but for me I tend to keep it fairly focused and specific. One of the main things for me, is to keep everything fun whilst still getting the job done.
 
Riding anything other than your road bike?
After some time off the bike, I started getting going again including some time on my XC MTB in addition to the road bike. I even managed to get out on the South Downs Way with HUNT's very own “Ollie the Wizard”
 
After the team had a slower start to the 2018 season (compared to early successes in 2017), the year ended on a high with a lot of success late on. In light of this, how are you feeling about 2019? Any big targets personally?
Thats a very good point, I feel the team as a whole learnt a lot after the steady start to 2018 and hopefully that will lead to a more on the pace start to 2019. I am excited towards 2019, the team has evolved as it does each year, with top new riders and improvements behind the scenes that people are often unaware of. Personally I will be targeting a crash free season. One of my favourite races is the Rutland Classic. With a revised course this year, it's a big focus of mine.   
 
Going beyond this, how’s the general feeling of the team? We understand you’ve had the chance to meet the new riders fairly recently… any crazy characters?
The feeling within the team is great and is one of the key parts to the teams success I feel. Tim (DS & Team Manager) has a great work ethic and will only ever have guys on the team who will work together well.  Sure, everyone on the team is a good bike rider, but also the right type of person and with a good attitude. Everyone has a bit of a joker side to them too, Stijn de Bock I think will be real funny guy (and speaks better English than some guys too!)
 
Do you allow yourself to have a really fattening Christmas binge? Who’s the worst on the team for this?
I always enjoy Christmas, its only once a year! Sure, I try avoid gaining much weight, mostly as its hard to lose, but I certainly enjoy myself and have a relaxed time. We have had a steady supply of mince pies in the kitchen since November, so that gives it away a bit! Max Steadman is for sure the worst, all year round too! He is super light, but you can always find a tub of Nutella in his kit bag
 
Will we see you at PERFS to defend your season-opening win from last year?
There is a good chance il be there. I like to support the local races when we can and its always a hard race. It will be tough one to win again, but will certainly try if the opportunity arises.
 
You’ve been testing our carbon-spoked prototype wheels as seen on BikeRadar & Road.cc fairly recently – how are you finding them?
Good! I've been putting them through their paces over some harsh conditions and they have taken everything I have thrown at them so far. They feel fast, light and super comfortable. Could be the wheel that does it all......